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We chose this cruise for the D Day Beaches and the American Cemetery at Normandy. We booked a fairly expensive all day excursion in Le Havre. I was shocked to receive an email about a month before sailing, that due to ship speed limits, we would not arrive a Le Havre at 10:30 am as scheduled but at 12:30 pm. The excursion was cancelled and we did receive a full refund. I booked a different excursion to Normandy immediately that was still shown on the cruise planner. Once we got on the ship, a partial credit was issued as this excursion was shortened without a single word to us. The last stop on the excursion was Arromanches, the site of the remaining Muberry Harbor, but at the time we arrived, all shops in the area were closed and only two restaurants open. Everyone on the bus had to go to the bathroom so this was total chaos. My second complaint is the main showroom. One of the shows was a cover band of the group Take That, that I had never heard of. Apparently this was an English group that was know to the British cruisers. We saw the whole show but was not impressed. Imagine our surprise when the Farewell Show the next night featured the group again. However not for just a song or two but their entire show from the night before. What a disappointment, not with the group but scheduling from the entertainment staff. Ship is in need of some updating, but our cabin was fine and our room steward was great. Dining was very slow the first night but we complained to the head waiter and extra efforts were taken to complete dinner service in a reasonable time frame. Food in the main dining room was fine. No options late at night but the Promenade Cafe. I noticed that the bills from the bar did not indicate that a tip had been added. I asked my bartender and he stated that a standard tip was included in the amount paid. He also mentioned that this had changed with their departures from Southampton. I don't know if this was a ploy to get an additional tip added or some issue for the British cruisers. I did not add an additional tip so I hope the bartender was correct. I had heard that Royal was doing away with formal nights but this was not the case. We had two of them and planned for none. Went to a future cruise talk. Three people showed up and the audio visual equipment wouldn't work. In the shore excursions, Royal did not offer transfers to Heathrow after the cruise. I was forced to find my own transportation and was surprised to see transfers on the embarkation schedule. One of the couples at our dinner table called Royal and was able to book this transfer. Why do you have to call to book a transfer? Even though we overnighted in Le Havre, no information was provided in the Compass or by the shopping staff. The cruise line sold bus transfer tickets into town for $10. Based on the crowds of people waiting catch the bus back to the ship in town, so they certainly knew how many people went into town. I mentioned this to the shopping manager and apparently it never occurred to them that people might be interested in Le Havre. I have cruised on Royal five time. This will be my last for some time to come.

Expected Better

Explorer of the Seas Cruise Review by Cruiser Rick1

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2019
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
We chose this cruise for the D Day Beaches and the American Cemetery at Normandy. We booked a fairly expensive all day excursion in Le Havre. I was shocked to receive an email about a month before sailing, that due to ship speed limits, we would not arrive a Le Havre at 10:30 am as scheduled but at 12:30 pm. The excursion was cancelled and we did receive a full refund. I booked a different excursion to Normandy immediately that was still shown on the cruise planner. Once we got on the ship, a partial credit was issued as this excursion was shortened without a single word to us. The last stop on the excursion was Arromanches, the site of the remaining Muberry Harbor, but at the time we arrived, all shops in the area were closed and only two restaurants open. Everyone on the bus had to go to the bathroom so this was total chaos.

My second complaint is the main showroom. One of the shows was a cover band of the group Take That, that I had never heard of. Apparently this was an English group that was know to the British cruisers. We saw the whole show but was not impressed. Imagine our surprise when the Farewell Show the next night featured the group again. However not for just a song or two but their entire show from the night before. What a disappointment, not with the group but scheduling from the entertainment staff.

Ship is in need of some updating, but our cabin was fine and our room steward was great. Dining was very slow the first night but we complained to the head waiter and extra efforts were taken to complete dinner service in a reasonable time frame. Food in the main dining room was fine. No options late at night but the Promenade Cafe.

I noticed that the bills from the bar did not indicate that a tip had been added. I asked my bartender and he stated that a standard tip was included in the amount paid. He also mentioned that this had changed with their departures from Southampton. I don't know if this was a ploy to get an additional tip added or some issue for the British cruisers. I did not add an additional tip so I hope the bartender was correct.

I had heard that Royal was doing away with formal nights but this was not the case. We had two of them and planned for none.

Went to a future cruise talk. Three people showed up and the audio visual equipment wouldn't work.

In the shore excursions, Royal did not offer transfers to Heathrow after the cruise. I was forced to find my own transportation and was surprised to see transfers on the embarkation schedule. One of the couples at our dinner table called Royal and was able to book this transfer. Why do you have to call to book a transfer?

Even though we overnighted in Le Havre, no information was provided in the Compass or by the shopping staff. The cruise line sold bus transfer tickets into town for $10. Based on the crowds of people waiting catch the bus back to the ship in town, so they certainly knew how many people went into town. I mentioned this to the shopping manager and apparently it never occurred to them that people might be interested in Le Havre.

I have cruised on Royal five time. This will be my last for some time to come.
Cruiser Rick1’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 4D
Balcony cabin was fine. No excessive ship noise or other issues.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews